Printing has become a habit many Gusties do not think twice about. However, students may think twice before printing off that article on Moodle or printing three copies of their paper for class this year. There has been a major change in the printing policy at Gustavus that will have an effect on the printing habits of many students.
According to the Gustavus website, each student is allotted 600 printing units per academic year at no charge. A unit is described as a single side of an 8½-by-11 inch piece of paper printed in black and white. A single side of color printing is counted as four units. Once a student goes past the 600 units, there is a charge of $0.05 per unit. Unused credits do not roll over at the end of the year.
The change is an inevitable one according to Director of Gustavus Technology Services Bruce Aarsvold. “Printing costs have been rising dramatically over the years, especially with the advent of online texts and online bibliography sources,” Aarsvold said. “Printing was rising to the point where it was starting to affect all the budgets.”
Although many students and professors were shocked to find out about the new printing policy, Gustavus is not alone in the changes. According to a handout provided by Gustavus Technology Services, the change still leaves Gustavus in the better half of printing policies adopted by comparison institutions. Hamline University does not allow students any free printing and charges $0.10 per page, Bethel has an allotment of 250 pages per semester and St. Olaf has a 275 page quota per semester. Colleges such as Luther, Middlebury and Macalester are all in the process of implementing a similar project as well.
Knowing we are not alone in this printing policy as an institution does not comfort the worries of many students and professors around campus. “I think the idea of an allowance is ridiculous,” Senior Communication Studies Major Kelly Nelson said. “We pay a lot of money to go here and now Gustavus expects me to pay for paper. When most of the paper I use is for academic purposes, it is strange for me that a college that places so much value on academia is beginning to limit what resources are available.”
The limit of printing also worries some professors. “600 pages is a lot of paper,” Political Science Professor Kate Knutson said. “So that is reasonable. But many professors have made decisions to post readings online, as it is cost-efficient for students. Some classes require a lot of papers and drafts. It is a disadvantage to students who are in writing intensive classes. A thesis class, for example, takes a huge amount of paper.”
Although the printing policy is here to stay for this year, it does raise awareness of the level of printing many Gustavus students have taken for granted in the past. As Aarsvold emphasized, “The end goal is to reduce waste; responsible printing.” For more information on the changes in printing policy, check out gustavus.edu/go/printing, or contact Gustavus Technology Services.